Friday, April 12, 2019

SUU to Middle School Language Arts Chair

Laura Vanderslice is impacting the world of education as head of the language arts department at Desert Hills Middle School in St. George, Utah.

Originally from Delta, Utah, Laura graduated magna cum laude from SUU in 1996 with a major in English, a minor in Spanish, and a certificate in secondary education. In 2004, she earned a master’s degree in education from SUU.

Laura is a 22-year veteran of the Washington County School District, and taught 17 years at Dixie Middle School and is now in her fifth year at Desert Hills Middle School.

While there are many rewards for being an educator, Laura says she always experiences a “proud moment” when she receives a thank you note from her students. Her students are a great source of pride.

Growing up, Laura had dreams of becoming a biologist or a veterinarian, but she quickly changed her mind once she discovered that working with animals would require, on occasion, putting then down.

“I have always loved school so it was a good fit,” she says of her career choice.

Dannielle Robinson and Laura, freshmen
year roommates and still best friends.
Laura has always been independent, but while a student at SUU she learned, out of necessity, the valuable lesson of budgeting her time and money. As a result, she earned good grades and still had plenty of fun while a fulltime student.

She loved her campus experience and how her professors knew her on a first name basis. Her literature classes were a highlight because she could read and discuss books, which she loves. Favorite professors included Dave Lee, Kay Cook, and S.S. Morty.

Laura has three sons and is married to Kurt Vanderslice. She enjoys traveling, and looks for opportunities to be outside, particularly if she can read a good book on the beach. A fierce competitor, Laura has competed in the Ironman, St. George Marathon (twice), Ragnar and Spartan competitions, and multiple half marathons.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

SUU to Financial Advising Practice Co-Owner

Neal Marchant always figured he would become a dentist, but finance classes at Southern Utah University changed his mind and today he is the co-owner of Vantage Advisors, a CPA and financial advising practice in St. George, Utah.

Neal studied both accounting and finance at SUU and graduated in 2002 with a double major, and earned his master’s degree in accountancy the following year.

After graduation, Neal accepted a public accounting position at Deloitte in Las Vegas, Nevada, and later worked for a regional accounting firm before focusing on financial advising.

“I really enjoyed finance classes a lot more than I did my accounting classes,” he says of his SUU experience. “I knew I wanted to do something in finance when I started my career in accounting.”

Neal has many fond memories of his time as a student at SUU, but his favorite was watching the 2000-2001 Thunderbird men’s basketball team. That year the team beat Valparaiso, 62-59, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and won the Summit League Tournament Championship, which qualified the team for NCAA Tournament. SUU nearly pulled off the upset over Boston College, but were narrowly edged out 68-65.

He also has great memories of professors Joe Baker and Steve Harrop, and thoroughly enjoyed watching accounting professor Jeff Barnes spar with the humanities department.

Neal and wife Megan Larkin Marchant, a 2002 SUU graduate, are the parents of six children. He enjoys hiking, fishing, and watching his children participate in athletic and dance activities.